Help! My Favorite Trail is Being Closed. What Should I Do?
- Get permission from the group to which you belong, before representing them at any meeting.
- Get the facts regarding the closure. Don't rely on rumors. Key questions to ask are:
• Why is the trail being closed?
• Who is making decisions regarding the closure?
• Where exactly is the closure?
• How does the closure fit in with the overall trail plan?
• What's the timetable?
- Get involved with other local trail user groups. Often other clubs will already be working on the issue.
- Ask the decision-maker if you can provide input if necessary.
- Ask for a delay in decisions to gain time.
- Help mobilize your group. Hold meetings, attend hearings, provide information, volunteer for trail work, etc.
- Get businesses with economic interest in the local trails to back you, including sporting goods stores, resorts, tourist groups, and other local companies.
- Be respectful and develop a responsible reputation. Ranting and raving will not keep trails open. The political process requires cooperation, patience and tenacity.
- Learn from the process to anticipate future problems. It's much more effective to work with land managers and other user groups before a situation reaches the crisis stage.
(Submitted by Alan Hill from the International Mountain Bicycle Association Newsletter.)
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